"I'll get it!" I shouted, shuffling down the stairs toward the door. From somewhere in the back of the house there was a grunt, followed by a bout of coughing. "Yeah, don't bother," I hissed through my teeth, and pulled the door open.
Wes was there, standing on my front step, in the pouring rain. He smiled apologetically at me, pushing his hands into his pockets. "Hey, Scarlet, right?"
I stared at him as a mess of emotions swirled through my heart and nodded mutely.
He looked down at the ground, a faint bush creeping into his gray-tinged cheeks. "I...uh...I was wondering if you would talk with me. I don't know anyone else here and you're a nice enough girl." He took a deep breath and looked up at me with those deep blue eyes I knew so well. "Please, Scarlet. I just need someone to talk to...a lot's happened lately."
For a fraction of a second we were both silent, standing as still as though we were frozen in time and simply looking into each other's eyes.
Then it was over.
"Are you serious?" I asked in disbelief, and felt a tiny spark of satisfaction as his eyebrows kit together in confusion and he turned a deep red. "What kind of coldhearted person are you, anyway? Just get away from me!"
"Scarlet! What do you mean? What are you talking about?" His voice was wounded, and he sounded like he was going to cry.
I stared at him uncomprehendingly. "Do you not get it? This morning I...made a mistake. I thought you were someone else...someone I lost. Which you promptly denied and then just walked away! And then, some creepy emo kid threatened me and told me to stay away from you! And now you have the nerve to come back here and try and chat me up? How shallow do you think I am?"
My voice had risen as I got angrier, and by the last sentence I was practically shouting. Slowly I unfurled my fists, and looking down I saw that my fingernails had dug into my palms in my anger. I glared at Wes with narrowed eyes.
"Listen. Scarlet." He reached out a hand, and I flinched as he touched my shoulder. "I didn't mean to hurt you. Later I heard about your friend Hunter and I felt terrible. He sounded like a great guy, and I'm really sorry about what happened. Right now, I swear to you, I only need someone to talk to."
I bit my lip as he smiled at me, and felt some of the anger diffuse. "Well...how come that kid told me to stay away from you?"
He shrugged. "I have no idea. Maybe he's just jealous." He winked at me, and I sighed as I felt a rush of feelings for this boy who looked just like my best friend. I held the door open.
"Well, I guess you'd better come inside then."